Item Details

Originality of Expression and Formal Citation Practices: Perceptions of Students and Professors

Issue: Vol 4 No. 1 (2012)

Journal: Writing & Pedagogy

Subject Areas: Writing and Composition Linguistics

DOI: 10.1558/wap.v4i1.43


Based on the theory of dialogism (Bakhtin, 1981) and intertextuality (Kristeva, 1986), this study explores students’ and professors’ thoughts about formal citation practices based on their comments on whether certain words from source materials need to be acknowledged as others’ words in student writing. A total of 75 students and faculty members at a North American university were interviewed to comment on five examples of language re-use in some undergraduate writing. Participants’ comments focused on how they valued and distinguished (a) between words and ideas, (b) between words representing specialized concepts and words forming a grammatical structure, and (c) between specialized or newly coined words and words that have become widespread since their creation in a specific subject area.

The study suggests the complexity of original expression and makes visible what individual students and professors are considering in their citation practices. The study further suggests that writing pedagogy needs to move from rule following to judgment and defense of judgment.

Author: Ling Shi

View Original Web Page

References :

Abasi, A. R. and Graves, B. (2008) Academic literacy and plagiarism: Conversations with international graduate students and disciplinary professors. Journal of English for Academic Purposes 7: 221–233.
Angélil-Carter, S. (2000) Stolen Language: Plagiarism in Writing. Harlow: Pearson Education.
Bacha, N. N. and Bahous, R. (2010). Student and teacher perceptions of plagiarism in academic writing. Writing & Pedagogy 2: 251–280.
Bakhtin, M. (1981) Discourse in the novel. In M. Holquist and C. Emerson (trans.) The Dialogic Imagination: Four Essays 259–422. Austin: University of Texas.
Bakhtin, M. (1986) Speech Genres and Other Late Essays. Austin, Texas: University of Texas Press.
Barthes, R. (1977) The death of the author. In Image Music Text (trans. S. Heath) 142–148. London: Fontana Press.
Bazerman, C. (1994) Constructing Experience. Carbondale and Edwardsville: Southern Illinois University Press.
Bloch, J. and Chi, L. (1995) A comparison of the use of citations in Chinese and English academic discourse. In D. Belcher and G. Braine (eds.) Academic Writing in a Second Language: Essays on Research and Pedagogy 231–274. Norwood, New Jersey: Ablex.
Bouville, M. (2008). Plagiarism: Words and ideas. Science and Engineering Ethics 14: 311–322.
Bruner, J. (1986) Actual minds, possible worlds. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.
Chandrasegaran, A. (2000) Cultures in contact in academic writing: Students’ perceptions of plagiarism. Asian Journal of English Language Teaching 10: 91–113.
Chandrasoma, R., Thompson, C. and Pennycook, A. (2004) Beyond plagiarism: Transgressive and nontransgressive intertextuality. Journal of Language, Identity, and Education 3: 171–193.
Chomsky, N. (1957) Syntactic Structures. Berlin: Mouton.
Currie, P. (1998) Staying out of trouble: Apparent plagiarism and academic survival. Journal of Second Language Writing 7: 1–18.
Dong, Y. R. (1996) Learning how to use citations for knowledge transformation: Non-native doctoral students’ dissertation writing in science. Research in the Teaching of English 30: 428–457.
Dreeben, R. (1968) On What Is Learned in School. Reading, Massachusetts: Addison-Wesley.
Flowerdew, J. and Li, Y. (2007) Language re-use among Chinese apprentice scientists writing for publication. Applied Linguistics 28: 440–465.
Foucault, M. (1979) What is an author? In J. V. Harari (ed.) Textual Strategies: Perspectives in Post-Structuarlist Criticism 141–160. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.
Gu, Q. and Brooks, J. (2008) Beyond the accusation of plagiarism. System 36: 337–352.
Herrington, A. (1992) Composing one’s self in discipline: students’ and teachers’ negotiations. In M. Secor and D. Charney (eds.) Constructing Rhetorical Education 91–115. Carbondale, Illinois: Southern Illinois University Press.
Hirsch, F. (1990) Love, Sex, Death and the Meaning of Life: The Film of Woody Allen. New York: Limelight Editions.
Horowitz, R. and Olson, D. R. (2007) Texts that talk: The special and peculiar nature of classroom discourse and the crediting of sources. In R. Horowitz (ed.) Talking Texts: How Speech and Writing Interact in School Learning 55–90. New York: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Howard, R. M. (1999) Standing in the Shadow of Giants: Plagiarists, Authors, Collaborators. Stamford, Connecticut: Ablex.
Howard, R. M., Serviss, T. and Rodrigue, T. K. (2010). Writing from sources, writing from sentences. Writing & Pedagogy 2: 177–192.
Hyland, K. (1999) Academic attribution: Citation and the construction of disciplinary knowledge. Applied Linguistics 20: 341–367.
Hymes, D. (1966) On communicative competence. Paper originally read at the Research Planning Conference on Language Development among Disadvantaged Children, Yeshiva University, June 1966. Reprinted, in part, in C. J. Brumfit and K. Johnson (eds.) (1979) The Communicative Approach to Teaching 5–26. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Jones, A. A. and Freeman, T. E. (2003) Imitation, copying, and the use of models: Report writing in an introductory Physics course. IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication 46(3): 168–184.
Jones, D. (1998) Vancouver’s vision of hell requires special type of MD, Canadian Medical Association Journal 159: 169–172.
Keck, C. (2010). How do university students attempt to avoid plagiarism? A grammatical analysis of undergraduate paraphrasing strategies. Writing & Pedagogy 2: 193–222.
Kelly, M. P. (1991) Martin Scorsese: A Journey. New York: Thurder’s Mouth Press.
Krishnan, L. A. and Kathpalia, S. S. (2002) Literature reviews in student project reports. IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication 45(3): 187–197.
Kristeva, J. (1986) Word, dialogue, and the novel. In T. Moi (ed.) The Kristeva Reader 34–61. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.
Kuhn, T. S. (1962) The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
MacDonald, S. P. (1994) Professional Academic Writing in the Humanities and Social Sciences. Carbondale and Edwardsville: Southern Illinois University Press.
McCarthy, L. P. (1987) A stranger in strange lands: A college student writing across the curriculum. Research in the Teaching of English 21: 23–265.
Moskovitz, C. (2010). Not (entirely) in their own words: Plagiarism, process, and the complicated ethics of school writing. Writing & Pedagogy 2: 163–176.
Okimoto, D. (1989) Between MITI and the Japanese Miracle. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
Paterson, B., Taylor, L. and Usick, B. (2003) The construction of plagiarism in a school of nursing. Learning in Health and Social Care 2: 147–158.
Pecorari, D. (2001) Plagiarism and international students: How the English-speaking university responds. In D. Belcher and A. Hirvela (eds.) Linking illiteracies: Perspectives on L2 Reading-Writing Connections 229–245. Ann Arbor: The university of Michigan Press.
Pecorari, D. (2003) Good and original: Plagiarism and patchwriting in academic second-language writing. Journal of Second Language Writing 12: 317–345.
Pennington, M. C. (2010). Plagiarism in the academy: Towards a proactive pedagogy. Writing & Pedagogy 2: 147–162.
Pennycook, A. (1996) Borrowing other’s words: Text, ownership, memory, and plagiarism. TESOL Quarterly 30: 201–230.
Petrić, B. (2004) A pedagogical perspective on plagiarism. NovELTy 11 (1): 4–18.
Prior, P. (1998) Writing/Disciplinarity: A Sociohistoric Account of Literate Activity in the Academy. Mahwah, New Jersey: Erlbaum.
Rinnert, C. and Kobayashi, H. (2005) Borrowing words and ideas: Insights from Japanese L1 writers. Journal of Asian Pacific Communication 15: 31–56.
Ryle, G. (1968) The thinking of thoughts: What is ‘le penseur’ doing? University of Saskatchewan University Lectures No.18 Retrieved on 7 June 2010 from
Senders, S. (2008) Academic plagiarism and the limits of theft. In C. Eisner and M. Vicinus (eds.) Originality, Imitation, and Plagiarism: Teaching Writing in the Digital Age 195–207. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.
Shi, L. (2004) Textual borrowing in second language writing. Written Communication 21: 171–200.
Shi, L. (2010) Textual appropriation and citing behaviors of university undergraduates. Applied Linguistics 31: 1–24.
Shi, L. (2011) Common knowledge, learning and citation practices in university writing. Research in the Teaching of English 45: 308–333.
Smagorinsky, P. (2008) The method section as conceptual epicenter in constructing social science research reports. Written Communication 25: 384–411.
Vygotsky, L. (1978) Mind in Society. M. Cole (trans.). Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.
Young, K. M. and Leinhardt, G. (1998) Writing from primary documents: A way of knowing in history. Written Communication 15: 25–68.